'On a completely bitchy note . . .'

And finally, it seems both Barton and Joel Beers are fond of criticizing theaters for their less-than-"relevant" choices in plays to produce and using the term "community theater" as a slam. Let's see, Mr. Barton: Our Town? On the Rude Guerrilla season? For a minute, I thought I was reading a La Habra Depot or Huntington Beach Playhouse brochure, perhaps even a Newport Theater Arts Center brochure . . . or worse, a Westminster Community Theater Brochure. I suppose if Emily, in a fit of hysterics over realizing she's dead, rips off her blouse and sucks George's dick onstage, it becomes relevant?

When I first saw that Mr. Barton was writing a theater column for the OC Weekly, I thought, "Fine, let's see if he can truly be objective even in the face of a HUGE conflict of interest." Sadly, it doesn't look like he can. Does Barton and the Rude Guerrilla produce great theater? Without question! But so do many other companies in Orange County, each playing to a certain market and with a certain mission. So get over yourself, Barton, and let someone who can at least pretend to be objective give OC Weekly readers theater news.

Cliff Bradshaw
via e-mail

Dave Barton responds: Cliff, what you take for finger-pointing (or worse, hypocrisy) is anything but!

All small theater companies deal with the same problems-audiences wanting what they're familiar with and turning their noses up at the new; musicals and classics as the only guaranteed box-office successes; small, awkward playing areas; miniscule budgets; the limitations of local talent; a dearth of technical types. Whether it's overdoing box-office golden child Shakespeare (my theater-Rude Guerrilla-has produced Taming of the Shrew), being forced to play the marketing game in ways that don't serve the work (i.e., trailers), or scheduling a musical (we canceled Forum, but another musical will take its place when I receive the confirmation) . . . yes, the theater that I am a part of-I do not "own" it-is just as guilty as anyone else.

Note that in my article, I never mentioned a specific small theater because we're all doing this. My deepest hope is that the community as a whole will rise above where it currently is and, simply, be better. Whether that happens or not, will have to be seen.

As for objectivity and conflicts of interest: Anybody who reads a critic with regularity realizes reviews are very subjective-the individual critic's likes and dislikes become clear fairly quickly. No apologies there-it's what makes critics either readable or birdcage material. As for conflicts of interest, I don't review theater companies one could reasonably assume I'm in economic competition with. That's why I'll review South Coast Rep, but not Stages, Hunger Artists or the Chance.

As for Our Town being community-theater fodder, have you ever seen a production of it? A good one? It's a damn fine play and worth your while if for no other reason than the melancholy of its Third Act. Magical and heart-breaking all at the same time.

I'll put two tickets aside for you when it's playing at RG.

As I sit here listening to [conservative talk-radio host] Mark Levin, I say to you that I know why your magazine is free.

That stupid-ass porn shit that's in the back end of your mag minus Commie Girl's ex-page pays for part of that; the rest is probably paid for by Communists! You're a bunch of fucking retards! If I were any madder, I'd take a flame thrower to the whole fucking lot of ya!

I quote General Slade: If I ever see your stooges out in public, I will make it my goal to give them my foot up their ass! I laugh every time I see a fellow OC person reading your filth.

Commie rag is what it is! Prove me fucking wrong; write about how bad the illegal invasion is, you one-sided fucktards. Write one truth about the facts. Oh, wait. You're all filthy hippies. Bleach and a haircut is in order. Bite me.

Matthew J. Goodell
via e-mail

You guys and gals at the OC Weekly are exceptional in your hard work and dedication in bringing us the news. Your dedication to digging up the dirt and exposing fallacy is becoming something of legend. I hope that those who are closest to you bring you much love and encouragement this holiday season.

via e-mail

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